The CCE’s Subcommittee on Ministerial Training is already looking forward to the 2015 Timothy Conference to be held in the Philadelphia area March 18–21, even as the 2014 conference fades in the rearview mirror. We look back at past conferences to gauge what we should do in the future.
At the 2014 conference, Matthews OPC in Matthews, North Carolina, and Greenville Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina, hosted eighteen young men from OP churches as far away as Hawaii and as close as Matthews itself. Greenville students shared a meal with the conferees and welcomed them into their seminary classes, including a senior class on Missions, during which Dr. Tony Curto actively engaged his guests in the class discussion. On the last evening, Pastor Nathan Trice introduced the group to Southern cuisine, courtesy of Mrs. Ashley Trice, as the men enjoyed fellowship and discussion with the conference speakers in the Trice home. These flavors of love and consideration for the men sent by their sessions in order to be challenged to consider gospel ministry are part of what makes the Timothy Conference a special event in the lives of those who attend.
Of course, the main course was delivered by the six lecturers at the heart of the conference. Pastor Stephen Oharek chauffeured three men up from Florida and spoke during the conference about the importance of the ministerial office and the work of a pastor. That labor can apparently include being a taxi driver. Pastor Boyd Miller, as part of his lecture on the internal and external aspects of God’s call, shared how the Lord called him into the ministry. Pastor Trice gave ten concrete and prioritized pieces of advice on preparing to serve the Lord, from being deeply embedded in the life of the church to the importance of marrying well.
Having noticed that the Timothy Conference has attracted quite a few young men who are new to the denomination, Danny Olinger and Dave VanDrunen decided to add some historical context to the conference format this year. The OPC’s church historian, ruling elder John Muether, delivered a lively lecture filled with humor and insight into the Lord’s guiding and shaping of our church.
As the Timothy Conference returns in 2015 to the birthplace of the OPC and American Presbyterianism, plans are being laid for elders Darryl Hart and John Muether to combine their talents in a Presbyterian history tour of Philadelphia and an OPC history lecture. Imparting an appreciation of how the Lord led our forefathers in the faith and of the spiritual battles they fought for the sake of fidelity to God’s Word and the Westminster Standards is part of passing the gospel baton from one generation to the next.
We also look forward to the possibility of Calvary OPC, across the street from Westminster Seminary in Glenside, hosting the 2015 conference with local pastors Mark Sallade (Glenside) and Larry Westerveld (Hatboro) joining Danny Olinger and Dave VanDrunen as lecturers. The conference will be open to young men (aged 16–21) nominated by their sessions. If the past seven years are any indication, applying by the January 15 deadline will be essential for pastors and sessions interested in seeing one of their young men attend. Information and application forms are posted on OPC.org.
What can a young man expect to receive from the Timothy Conference in 2015? Comments from some of those who attended in 2014 are instructive:
Ben Wagner wrote that he took home “an increased appreciation for my pastor and a clearer understanding of what he invested to make himself worthy of leading a church through the grace of God.” The conference showed him “how high the Lord sets” the standards of personal integrity, “and how I need to be making strides through Christ to show myself a workman who will not be ashamed.”
Ben Ward said, “The Timothy Conference encouraged me, as one who has had a desire for the ministry, in the conviction that the Lord might be calling me to serve in gospel ministry.”
David Carnes commented, “One of my favorite parts of the Timothy Conference was the time spent fellowshipping with the speakers and other students. All of the speakers were very accessible and willing to answer any questions we had.”
Joel Stanton remarked, “To any young men who are even faintly considering pursuing the ministry within the OPC, I would highly recommend you approach your local church session about attending this conference. Your time will be well spent, and you will glean godly wisdom from men who are passionate about the future of Christ’s church.”